No one ever takes their boat out thinking they’ll get into an accident. Even still, there were 4,168 boating accidents recorded in 2019. Alcohol, hazardous water, lack of operator experience, and general inattentiveness were statistically the top four causes; but when you consider that 70 percent of these accidents happened to boaters who had received no form of boater safety education, a different story begins to unravel.1
Boater safety is incredibly important and something that everyone should take the time to learn about before taking the helm; however, not all boating safety courses are alike. In fact, only courses that are approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) should be considered adequate. These courses can be found through various NASBLA accredited providers. Some are taken in classroom settings, while others are taken online, which is considered equally acceptable; and, thankfully, many NASBLA-approved courses are available online.
Here are five reasons you should consider taking a boater safety course.
1. Boater safety courses may be required in some states
The amount of education required to legally operate a boat varies on a state per state basis. Some states require that every boat operator take a boater safety course, while others require no courses at all. With this in mind, it’s important to be aware of state laws whenever you decide to operate a boat outside of your home state. If the state you’ll be boating in requires some level of boating safety education, then be sure you’ve completed a course before heading out on the water.
2. These courses help you learn how to operate a boat
If you’re new to boating, a boater safety course will teach you the basics of operating your craft. Most boats aren’t overly complex to operate but understanding the function and appropriate way to use their controls can mean the difference between a boating accident and a perfect day on the water.
Boating courses also explain the various kinds of boats you’ll see out on the water – preparing you to both operate a variety of different boats and teach you what to expect when you encounter them.
3. You’ll learn boat etiquette and safety
Not unlike learning the various traffic signs associated with driving a car, you must also learn the “rules of the road” before jumping behind the wheel of a boat. Boating safety courses teach the basics of maritime laws and boating etiquette so that you know what’s expected of you when you operate in crowded marinas and channels or anytime you encounter another vessel.
They also teach the basics of boating safety. Every boater should have a solid understanding of hazards like tides and weather, as well as what supplies to keep on the boat and how to safely perform maneuvers like docking.
4. You’ll learn information needed to obtain a boating license
Before you decide to buy a boat, you’re going to have to be licensed to operate it. The knowledge you’ll pick up from a NASBLA-approved boating education course can prove very helpful in passing the test to obtain your actual license. Every state regulates its boating education and licensing requirements, so the specific knowledge you’ll be able to pull from your safety course will vary.
5. You may save on boat insurance
When you can prove that you’re a safer boater, you can often get a lower rate on your boat insurance. It’s that simple. Since those who have completed a NASBLA-certified boating safety course are statistically less likely to get into accidents, showing your completion of one of these courses is an excellent way to save. And with so many courses available online, it’s easier than ever to save money while becoming a safer boater.
Most online boater safety courses can be completed in a matter of hours. With all the benefits to taking a course, those are hours well spent.
Already completed a boating safety course and interested in exploring coverage options for your boat? Learn more about boat insurance and what boat insurance covers.
1https://www.boat-ed.com/blog/why-choose-a-nasbla-approved-boating-safety-course/, Accessed July 2021
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